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Abraham, Lee: Harmony/Synchronicity

Lee Abraham is quickly becoming one of the safest pair of guitar hands in the prog rock business as he guests here, there and pretty much everywhere. Add in long term commitments with the wonderful Galahad and what can now only be described as a gaggle of solo albums and it appears that almost every time you turn round he’s there to enthral and entertain. Following on from last year’s deep and dark concept piece, Comatose, the guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and producer is back with the altogether slicker Harmony/Synchronicity. Arguably, if that previous album was Abraham at his most uncompromisingly progressive, this latest offering swings to the other end of the scale to the extent that at times we’re almost in AOR territory, and even when things are a little more technical and challenging, there’s still a hook and harmony (natch) to grab a hold of.

Utilising a selection of guest vocalists it’s the main man’s Galahad band mate Stu Nicholson who appears on opening gambit “The World Is Falling Down”, and given that Stu is one of my favourite singers of the last couple of decades, that I find his contribution here to be a little difficult to engage with is more down to a production that seems to struggle to meld all of the isolated parts into a cohesive whole than his voice. At times it’s as though the vocals and the music aren’t quite as interconnected as they might be and even with Stu given the opportunity to really illustrate his more melodic side, the overall effect on a tamely riffing track is somewhat underwhelming. Possibly if it wasn’t the album’s opener the effect wouldn’t be quite so stark, but as it is…

From there things get more into the groove, “Stay” sliding into a situation that would have found Phil Collins and Mike + Mechanics in a Genesis solo project stand off. Sitting on calming keyboard soundscapes and considered guitar motifs, it’s left to Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tales) to steer the ship in what are decidedly still seas. “Hearing The Call” finds another fellow Galahad man taking the vocal slot - this time, unusually, it’s Mark Spencer (who we usually hear handling bass) that’s holding the mic and a mighty fine job he does too, a more restrained Rob Sowden (ex-Arena) like reassurance more than capable of matching the album’s lengthiest and arguably most progressive outing. The song itself also reminds of Arena in construction and while it isn’t maybe as aggressive as they can be Threshold are also, in many ways, brought to mind and arguably in a fashion that makes a track peppered with great guitar solos an album standout. “Misguided2” continues down the same sort of road but this time in a slightly more angry and instrumental tone, before Nine Stones Close and Riversea singer Marc Atkinson wrestles control of the mic for both “Never Say Never” and “Rise Again”. The former of the two wouldn’t have been out of place on a Cutting Crew album (which is no bad thing I may add) while the latter pulls things in even further adding a “Strawberry Fields” melancholy to a more modern sounding pulse. In places it works beautifully, but in others, not so much.

All of which leaves Tinyfish’s Simon Godfrey to lead from the front on the almost 80s UK melodic rock push and shove of the album’s title track. Unfortunately, for me, the issue that impacted on the opening track reappears here, with the vocals sounding a little too disconnected from the song itself and while both music and vocals are excellent, together I can’t quite make it all gel in my head.

For me Harmony/Synchronicity is one of the less cohesive offerings from Lee Abraham. His guitar work throughout is quite astounding and there are plenty of stick in the mind moments. And yet, with a couple of songs that don’t quite hang together the way I’d like them to and a little less to get the teeth into than I’d expected, in the end I’m left wanting more. Doubtless that’s an itch that will be scratched sooner rather than later and even with a blip here or there, in the meantime there’s still lots to enjoy.

Track Listing
1. The World Is Falling Down
2. Stay
3. Hearing The Call
4. Misguided2
5. Never Say Never
6. Rise Again
7. Harmony/Synchronicity

Added: October 27th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lee Abraham online
Hits: 785
Language: english

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